Violent Soho - 'Self Titled' (Ecstatic Peace) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gaz E   
Monday, 09 August 2010 05:00

violent_soho420-420x0Rising from the ashes of a Pentecostal church band in their native Mansfield, Brisbane, Violent Soho self released a noisy debut - 'We Don't Belong Here' - that would somehow get into the hands of Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore.


When the band eventually got to New York, Moore was there at their debut gig and later offered them a deal with his Ecstatic Peace label. With Rick Rubin inviting the band to play his condo in Malibu and producer Gil Norton (The Distillers, Jimmy Eat World) attached the world seemed to be at the band's feet....and then they came to Wales....


Recorded at Rockfield Studios, this self-titled album is a revelation. With the grunge label readily slapped onto the band at any given moment, don't go into this record expecting some Seether-esque post grunge stadium rock fodder. Sure this has the dirty fingernails of the Nineties scratching deep into its grooves, with the influence of Billy Corgan and that blonde fella from all the posters hanging heavy over the entire running time, but in 2010 this is as likely to get a garage punk tag pinned to it as it is a thrift store grunge one.


Bands that were themselves influenced by that initial cardigan explosion are the ones that I get thinking about while listening to, and seriously loving, this album. There is a noisy melancholia that reminds me of much-underrated UK noiseniks Baby Chaos and there is a definite tip of the hat to be made in the direction of fellow countrymen The Vines. Might seem a little clichéd to be writing that..err...vignette but ears are ears.


The two songs offered up on the gig-only release that preceded this album - 'Son Of Sam' and 'Bombs Over Broadway' - picked at the scab of this album but, and this is the good part, they aren't particularly the strongest tracks on the album. Single 'Jesus Stole My Girlfriend' might walk a little close to the grunge template but, honestly, it is massive. The huge pre-chorus is a real teeth-rattler. 'Generation' runs along a path that The Hives might frequent with a hook that is all killer. 'Muscle Junkie' perfects that retro (saying 'retro' when talking about the 1990's - how fucking old am I?!) slow-fast-slow dramatic to great, angst-fuelled effect. 'Love Is A Heavy Word' throttles you until you remember that, until music television stylists invented a new musical genre, grunge was dirty punk rock.


Sure to cause heated debate between garage band aficionados in Cobain denial, this albumapproved_image_lrg from Violent Soho, whether it be a grunge throwback or a modern punk classic-in-waiting, is pretty friggin' special. Buy it.